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The time has come. Six years after the Supreme Court’s malignant Citizens United ruling, nearly every American plainly sees how our nation’s historic, political ethic of citizen equality — “one person one vote” — has been buried in a roaring avalanche of corrupt, corporate money and voter suppression. Moreover, nearly nine years after Wall Street thieves wrecked our economy, the great majority also plainly sees that the court’s turbo-charge of money politics has produced economic policies that richly reward the plutocratic robbers and coldly abandon the robbed.

There’s no need to convince the American people that they’ve been stiffed. As they reveal in poll after poll, they know it, for they’re experiencing it personally, and they’re furious at the business-as-usual establishment that has done it to them. A major, non-partisan survey taken last September by Public Policy Polling found:

–80 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats “strongly agree” that special interest money has too much influence in political campaigns. Only 4 percent in either party disagreed.

–85 percent of GOP primary voters and 86 percent of Democrats agree that elections would be less corrupt if candidates focused on small donations from ordinary people, rather than on big money from special interests.

–62 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats agree that America needs public funding of elections. Similarly, a New York Times/CBS poll last summer found that across the entire political spectrum.

–85 percent of Americans think that officeholders “promote polices that directly help” the special interests that funded their campaigns;

–85 percent say that the present system of financing political campaigns must either be “fundamentally” changed (39 percent) or “completely rebuilt” (46 percent).

–77 percent say the unlimited amount of money that wealthy interests can now give to candidates should be … well, limited.

This powerful anti-Big Money sentiment is also part of what has fueled establishment-stunning Bernie and Donnie presidential runs, and it’s why we democracy rebels should shift now from complaining about the plutocratic corruption of our country to stopping it. The people are ready, and this hyper-political year is the time to move, for the presidential and congressional elections will focus public attention on the political system for months to come, and corporate and political cash will be on full display (from the Koch Brothers’ Billionaire Money Bash to the garish corporate sponsorship of both parties’ national conventions).

While all of the establishment forces (and too many of our progressive leaders) have dourly told us commoners that we must resign ourselves to the new Citizens United order of court-sanctioned rule-by-money, the people themselves have not accepted that. But where could they turn for help since the leadership of both political parties either enthusiastically welcomed government of, by, and for the 1-percenters (the GOP) or — with a wink and a nod — agreed to go along with it in exchange for getting their own share of big money donations (the Democrats)? For six years, the broad public has been yearning for someone, something, some moment, to arise and rescue the founding ideals of 1776.

Well, here it is! And who are our rescuers? Us! This April, the Democracy Awakening and Democracy Spring are bring together a diverse coalition of labor, business, environmentalists, public interest advocates, media and issue-specific constituencies, along with you, me and thousands of mavericks gathering in Philadelphia, Washington and around the country to fire a new democratic “shot heard ’round the world.” This will signal to the millions of members of the coalitions that we are not helpless in the face of an American plutocracy. And we can go on the offensive to inspire many millions more to shuck the idea that the majority is powerless and to step up with a renewed sense of our own possibilities.

The moment is ripe to rally a People’s rebellion, intervene in this year’s elections with a clear change agenda, and make this moment the turning point for implementing those changes. Just getting such a myriad of diverse reform forces to join hands in such an effort is an auspicious sign that maybe — just maybe — we can bind our forces into an effective populist movement for the long haul, rebuilding America’s democratic promise for the greater good of all.

Given the opportunity, don’t we have to go for it? To join the rebellion and get more information on the upcoming actions in April check out www.DemocracyAwakening.org and www.DemocracySpring.org.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2016 CREATORS.COM

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was on CNN Sunday morning with Jake Tapper on his State of the Union show. In part because Democratic reps, like Republican reps, going on Sunday shows is about this coming election, and in part because newscasters are not particularly deep or creative when it comes to talking about politics, Tapper decided to spend a lot of time trying to get Ocasio-Cortez to attack Joe Biden for their differences of political opinions. Newsflash: Ocasio-Cortez, progressive hero, co-author of the ambitious Green New Deal environmental package, and Vice President Joe Biden aren't exactly on the same page as to how to handle climate change.

More to the point, Tapper asked Ocasio-Cortez whether or not she was bothered by the fact that Biden has not said he would outright ban fracking. The move to ban fracking in states across the country has been a seesaw battle of fossil fuel interests fighting against progressive environmentalism and science. Biden's refusal to provide full-throated support for a ban on fracking is disappointing to many of us on the left, but it isn't surprising. Even more importantly, it is below the most essential first step the progressive movement—and the country for that matter—needs to take: getting rid of Donald Trump and getting rid of the Republican majority in the Senate.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez isn't going to be pulled into a pointless argument about fracking with Jake Tapper. Her position is well-reported. So is Biden's. AOC explains very clearly that this is how politics work in a representative democracy.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: It does not bother me. I believe, and I have a very strong position on fracking. You know, the science is very clear, the methane emissions from fracking are up to 64 times more powerful than CO2 emissions and trapping heat in the air, and just from a perspective of stopping climate change there is a scientific consensus. However, that is my view. Vice President Biden has made very clear that he does not agree with the fracking ban and I consider that, you know—it will be a privilege to lobby him should we win the White House but we need to focus on winning the White House first. I am happy to make my case but I also understand he is in disagreement on that issue.

Tapper wonders whether this will depress the youth vote, a vote that AOC represents more closely than Biden. This, of course, is literally the only reason Trump and his surrogates have been bringing up this difference of positions the last couple of weeks. The hope is that it will depress the more progressive vote, while spooking some more conservative-leaning folks in fossil-fuel heavy states like Pennsylvania and Texas. Ocasio-Cortez points out that the youth vote over the past couple of years has not simply become more sophisticated since 2016, it has brought in more progressive candidates and officials into local elections. The turnout in 2018 showed that, and Ocasio-Cortez believes that this election is very clearly a choice between Donald Trump, someone who is a non-starter of a human being, and Joe Biden.

Tapper then plays a clip of Biden telling reporters that he isn't "getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time," but that he's talking about getting rid of the subsidies the fake free-marketeers enjoy in the fossil fuel industry. While Tapper is hoping that this will illustrate how Biden isn't AOC and the youth vote may be turned off by this statement, she sees it as an important step in the right direction.

REP. OCASIO-CORTEZ: When he says we are eliminating subsidies, I think that is, frankly, an important first step. A lot of folks who like to tout themselves as free market capitalists, while still trying to make sure they get as much government subsidy, and propping up of the fossil fuel industry as possible. ... If you do believe in markets, solar and renewable energies are growing less and less expensive by the day in many areas. They are starting to become less expensive than fossil fuels. When you eliminate government subsidies, it becomes more difficult for fossil fuels to compete in the market. I think while the vice president wants to make sure that he is not doing it by government mandate or regulation. I do believe that we are moving towards that future. I believe that there's a way and that we should push that process along but again, the vice president and my disagreements are, I believe, recorded and that is quite all right.